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Bolton boss Megson: UEFA Cup exit saved us from drop

Bolton Wanderers boss Gary Megson believes their UEFA Cup elimination by Sporting Lisbon saved them from the drop.

"My own view is that [had Bolton got past Sporting] it probably would have relegated us," Megson said. "The focus at the club was always on staying in the Premier League, but while we were in Europe there was another focus and the nearer we got to being successful in Europe it tended to overtake the big prize, which was remaining in the Premier League.

"We played ten more games than everybody else down at the bottom of the table [because of the Uefa Cup] with a squad that is not massive anyway. We managed to take the club the furthest it had ever been in Europe and there were some good nights and it was enjoyable for everybody, but if we had got through against Sporting Lisbon we would still have had the same issues to deal with - would it be prudent to pick what would be viewed as your strongest XI, given the situation we were in?

"Steve Coppell said he didn't want Reading to get into Europe last season because he knew the size of the club and the problems it causes."

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